PAX East 2014 Report and on Diversity

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I’ve been to Anime conventions before, but I almost forgot how crazy a concentrated, near 72-hour “nerd fest” gets. This was my first PAX, my first proper video game convention ever, but those who have been to any kind of convention before, can know what to expect.

Guide book, panels, maps, famous guests, lots of booths, scarcity of food and sleep – those are some keywords I would tag on. For me, it was quite different, because I had, ahem, *work.* I was reporting for Indie Game Magazine, truly for the first time officially in the field, talking to developers and playing their games. This was both a little difficult and a lot of fun. I had to make sure I take quick notes of whatever they are saying, and it was sometimes hard to hear on a loud, crowded floor, as well as write things down (I’m still not good with short-handing things or writing down quotes fast). Then, while I play the game, there wasn’t very much a chance to stop playing and write something down. Other people were waiting in line! But it was cool to be given priority over others when I was on official business.

I checked out lots of cool indie games, and you can see some of the coverage on my recent posts (more like last week and such). The Indie Megabooth was huge and more accessible than most of the triple-A booths, like Blizzard’s and the booth for Evolve. Just to list some great names: Dungeon of the Endless, Endless Legend, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, Gods Will be Watching, Fenix Rage, Assault Android Cactus, Videoball, and many, many more! Some of my interviews are still coming, so expect to see more coverage up on the site.

Otherwise, I was able to see just a few panels, like a Kotaku panel, how to pitch a great gaming story with people from the Escapist and Joystiq, as well as something about gaming stories with Ken Levine. I checked out the Diversity Lounge, a room devoted to the LGBTQIA community. It was all right, I suppose. I heard it was very small last year (unless it was PAX Prime?) and doubt it even existed in the years before. Not a whole lot happened on the inside, just a few comic booths and bean bags to hang out on. As I didn’t have any friends to hang out with, I just perused it. Unfortunately, I was dubious about how much this enclosed space actually affected the convention attendees. My thoughts were that only people who are LGBT or already interested in these topics would be likely to stop by, rather than somebody alien to them, uneducated. There were lots of panels included at PAX, devoted to diversity and inclusion, but again, I can’t attest to how many peeps attended them. Later on I tweeted to Bryanna Lindsey, who wrote that this PAX has been much better in terms of diversity. I asked her how many random people actually stopped by the booth to learn, and she said quite a lot. I’m eager to speak to her more about this.

Oh, and I also pwned at the Persona 4 Arena tournament. I won the whole thing! And got a medal with the title “Defeat Dealer.” (feature image)

I am very glad to have attended my first proper video game con and am looking forward to the next ones, time and money and job permitting. It doesn’t look like (read: I’m not) going to E3 this year, that would have been awesome though. I honestly don’t know what E3 is like anymore, I know it’s not as glamorous or important as it used to be, and I also wonder how much space indie games have there. But indie or not, I know good, new, and innovative games will find their place.

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One thought on “PAX East 2014 Report and on Diversity

  1. Pingback: Wot I’ve Been Up To | Omnom Games

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